DC United

Paul Arriola
AP Photo/LM Otero

USMNT’s Arriola likely will miss MLS season, six World Cup qualifiers

1 Comment

WASHINGTON — D.C. United midfielder Paul Arriola had major knee surgery Monday and likely will miss the entire Major League Soccer season and the United States’ first six qualifying matches for the 2022 World Cup

The operation was to reconstruct his right anterior cruciate ligament. The team said there was no additional cartilage damage.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

The 25-year-old midfielder injured his knee Feb. 15 during D.C. United’s preseason match against Orlando in Tampa, Florida.

Arriola has been a regular starter for the U.S. national team under coach Gregg Berhalter. Arriola has five goals in 33 international appearances.

After failing to reach the 2018 World Cup, the U.S. starts qualifying for the 2022 tournament this year. The Americans have two matches each in September, October and November, then complete qualifying with two games apiece in March and September 2021.

Arriola confirms ACL injury in blow to USMNT, DC United

Paul Arriola
Photo by Shaun Clark/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Paul Arriola confirmed that an injury suffered Saturday versus Orlando City was in fact to his anterior cruciate ligament.

That means a long absence for the USMNT and DC United midfielder. Arriola says it is “unclear” how long he’ll be out of action, other than it will take “months” to heal.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ] 

Arriola, 25, seems likely to miss this summer’s CONCACAF Nations League action and is a doubt for the start of 2020 World Cup qualifying in the Fall.

The blow is even bigger for a DC side about to open its MLS season on Feb. 29 versus Colorado.

Arriola has appeared in 16 of the 19 matches helmed by USMNT boss Gregg Berhalter and has 33 caps overall.

He began his career at Dorados de Sinaloa and Club Tijuana in Liga MX before moving to DC in 2017. He has 14 goals and 13 assists in 71 appearances for the Black-and-Red, six and two in 2,553 minutes last season.

Report: USMNT mid Arriola suffers potentially serious knee injury

Paul Arriola injury
Photo by Katherine Frey/The Washington Post via Getty Images
Leave a comment

DC United lost a significant piece of their puzzle in Saturday’s preseason win over Orlando City on Saturday.

That’s USMNT midfielder Paul Arriola, who will undergo scans on his knee to see the extent of a possible seaosn-ending ACL tear.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ] 

Arriola, 25, has appeared in 16 of the 19 matches helmed by USMNT boss Gregg Berhalter.

Overall, the player has five goals and five assists in 33 caps. Arriola found two of those goals and three of those assists at this summer’s Gold Cup.

Arriola began his career at Dorados de Sinaloa and Club Tijuana in Liga MX before moving to DC in 2017. He has 14 goals and 13 assists in 71 appearances for the Black-and-Red, six and two in 2,553 minutes last season.

The U.S. could miss Arriola for the CONCACAF Nations League and the start of 2020 World Cup qualifying, but the blow is even bigger for a DC side about to open its MLS season on Feb. 29 versus Colorado.

DC United acquires Julian Gressel from Atlanta

Atlanta United trades for Julian Gressel
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Leave a comment

How much is Major League Soccer’s best assist man worth?

About $750,000.

DC United paid Atlanta United that fee in allocation money for the rights to Julian Gressel, who had been at a contract impasse with the club who drafted him in 2017.

That fee could hit $1.1 million in incentives, and even so could be a bargain.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Gressel was due to make around $133,000 this season and wanted an improved deal from Atlanta given his massive production since becoming the eighth overall pick in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft.

That salary is less than hundreds of players, most of them nowhere near Gressel’s impact. Nineteen Atlanta United players made more than him last season, so it’s understandable that the 26-year-old wanted to get paid.

We don’t know what he was asking, or why Atlanta wouldn’t get there. From MLSSoccer.com:

“If we really wanted to, we could have had him play on $130,000 this season, extend him a bona fide offer at the end of the season and (we’d still own his MLS rights),” said Atlanta United vice president Carlos Bocanegra. “We’re also trying to do the right thing for a guy who has given so much to the club and is really just a good kid all around.”

It’s a weird one, given what the club’s been paying others.

Gressel arrived at Providence College from Eintracht Bamberg and immediately started delivering for the Big East side. He finished his four years with 30 goals and 26 assists and All-American status.

There was some adapting to MLS, but he’s gotten better with every season. He scored 10 goals with 13 assists in all competitions last season.

MLS Cup Playoff Predictions

AP Photo/Todd Kirkland
Leave a comment

There will be upsets.

While Major League Soccer’s playoffs certainly should provide plenty of love for home teams in the one leg format, it will also give underdogs the chance to outfox better seeds over 90 minutes.

[ MORE: Reyna talks NYCFC, youth soccer in U.S. ]

Considering that 92 of 408 MLS matches ended in ties this season, we may also see a few matches hit penalty kicks.

Here’s where we see the 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs going…

Round 1

East
(5) DC United defeats (4) Toronto FC
(3) Philadelphia Union defeats (6) New York Red Bulls
(2) Atlanta United defeats (7) New England)

West
(5) LA Galaxy defeats (4) Minnesota United
(6) Portland Timbers defeat (3) Real Salt Lake
(2) Seattle Sounders defeat (7) FC Dallas

Why the upsets? DC’s defense has been very good this season, and there’s something about Wayne Rooney‘s MLS exit that doesn’t seem immediate. Zlatan Ibrahimovic is a big game player and Minnesota’s experiencing the playoffs for the first time. Portland is missing Brian Fernandez but has enough savvy and experience to outlast a decent (and very strong at home) RSL.

Conference Semifinals

East
(5) DC United defeats (1) New York City FC
(2) Atlanta United defeats (3) Philadelphia Union

West
(1) LAFC defeats (5) LA Galaxy
(2) Seattle Sounders defeat (6) Portland Timbers

Why the upset? If there’s one team equipped to deal with the NYCFC possession-based attack on a baseball field, it’s DC. The back line and Bill Hamid do enough to stun a No. 1 seed which will not have played in nearly a month.

Conference Finals

East
(2) Atlanta United defeats (5) DC United

West
(1) LAFC defeats (2) Seattle Sounders

MLS Cup Final

(2) Atlanta United defeats (1) LAFC

Why the upset? Just to be different, and so all the people who laid Atlanta’s early struggles at the feet of Frank De Boer and not adapting to the post-Miguel Almiron era can sigh, “Ohhhhh.”